Never a science major, I certainly learned a lot the past few months working with Ms. Micco’s 8th grade class at Hannah Gibbons Stem School. The students have been studying genetics, focusing on Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). To better understand this disease that disproportionally affects those of African American descent, the class interviewed pediatrician and hematologist, Dr. Connie Piccone, from UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at Case Western Reserve University. Students worked in four groups to address the demographics, ethics around testing, general facts about the disease, and a human interest story about an 8th grader with SCD. The result of their hard work is “The Today Show at Hannah Gibbons,” a twenty-minute health program written, produced and filmed by the students. The whole class brainstormed interview questions for Dr. Piccone and did an amazing job interviewing her. Students also interviewed “man on the street” style, as well as writing intros to their pieces to be used in the final production. The human interest piece was particularly filmed well. One student acted as if he had the disease and the film crew members were awesome at putting him in situations that challenged him while at school. I know the students were very surprised, as was I, about the many people who have SCD and how a cure still has not been found. Dr. Piccone stressed that the students should talk about SCD with friends and family. I was especially impressed by the acting and filming from my class over our five sessions together. Dr. Piccone was wonderful and even sang a tune (off camera). Students asked her what career she would pursue if she wasn’t a doctor, and she said a singer! Sing out for an end to SCD, I’m sure!
Tag Archives: media
On Monday, April 21st, I will begin a multimedia project with CMSD Kindergarten students at Mound, Orchard, and Hannah Gibbons STEM schools. Each of the students in the four classes I am working with will work as an author and illustrator to create their own eBook, telling the story of the lifecycle of a butterfly. Students will experience a variety of production techniques including painting, green screen, puppetry, and video- which we will combine using the BookCreator app for iPad. Each classroom is also receiving live caterpillars, allowing students to observe the life cycle of butterflies in their classroom as we work on the project. I have designed this project to combine visual arts, technology, language arts, and science goals, and the finished eBooks will be viewable in an interactive format online, and also printed as books. I’m excited to work with the students over the next few weeks on this project, and I look forward to seeing the finished projects on display for the CMSD’s STEM Fair.
Although I think everything we do is fun and relevant and an opportunity to take things to a new and different level, the students are sometimes slow to come on board. Academic tie-in sometimes makes the students feel “oh yeah, you’re not fooling me. This is still school work.” For me, the key is to let the students have creative control. Even let them know it’s ok to take risks. Get crazy! Try it a new way. Add unexpected elements, or tell the story complete with all the required facts, but in a way that appeals to you and your peers.
For example, this group of young ladies is creating a P.S.A. (Public Service Announcement) about the invasive zebra mussels to our fresh water supplies. They wanted to make it as a rap video. I told them “great!” as long as it included 1) the necessary three, researched acts, 2) met the requirements of 30 seconds or 1 minute exact screen time, 3) made the appeal to the public for more action, and 4) gave a go to organization to get more info. They more than met the requirements and came in with a polished, rehearsed, right on performance. Well done, ladies!